While Bitcoin price surges, ramped up cryptocurrency mining takes heavy toll on the planet
BANGKOK: During good times, mining for Bitcoin is an around the clock job.
In Nonthaburi, a province outside Bangkok, through the day and night one facility’s thousands of machines are on the hunt. An ordinary factory from the outside, inside row upon row of machinery sits quietly at work in the dim light, in an enormous 16,000 sqm space.
This mining operation is said to be the biggest in Southeast Asia and the bounty it is looking to unlock has become more valuable than ever before.
Behind the fluctuating rise of Bitcoin lies the cold, constant reality of how it is accessed. The nature of its software means each Bitcoin transaction requires a large amount of electricity and leaves a carbon footprint that is worsening the onset of climate change.
Just like in 2017 when the price for Bitcoin dramatically spiked, the latest run has seen budding investors flock to cryptocurrency markets in search of a quick fortune. For those in Thailand, turning to mining services like ZMINE are a gateway into the crypto game - by lending their computer equipment to the “farm”, they get back a share of the spoils.
In March last year, the price for the digital currency sat just above US$5,000. Nine months later it peaked at more than US$40,000 on Jan 8. It was the latest surge in a highly speculative market.
For mining farms like ZMINE, the past few weeks have been the welcome return of a boom period, following years of struggling to profit.
“We had some difficult times when we had to shut down our mining farm because it’s not worth it. In the last six months, we just got back to operating. It wasn’t a 100 per cent shutdown but we could do it only in the night time because of the electricity cost,”
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